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Mariel Zagunis Wins Silver at Moscow Saber Grand Prix

03/28/2011, 6:57am CDT
By No Author

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The top-ranked fencer in the world, two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) earned her third podium finish this year on Sunday at the Moscow Saber Grand Prix.

Exempt from competing in the pools on Saturday, Zagunis began the table of 64 with a 15-10 win over Nina Kozlova (UKR).

In the second round, Zagunis defeated Ji-Yeon Seo (KOR), 15-6. The four-time World Champion had her closest victory over the day against Min Zhu (CHN) in the table of 16 in which Zagunis won the bout, 15-12.

Zagunis won her quarter-final bout against Marion Stoltz (FRA), 15-11, to advance to the medal rounds in which she earned her fourth bout win of the day, 15-9, against Ji-Yeon Kim (KOR).  

In the final, Zagunis met two-time World medalist Sophia Velikaia (RUS) for the second time this year. Although Zagunis won their last bout at the Orleans Grand Prix, Velikaia took the win this time, 15-11.

Emma Baratta (Somerville, N.J.) had her best results in the past year when she placed 13th on Sunday.

Baratta emerged from the pools with a 5-1 record on Saturday and entered the draw as the 24th seed. In the table of 64, Baratta won her opening bout against 2004 Olympian Louise Bond-Williams (GBR), 15-5. Baratta continued to look strong in the table of 32 when she defeated Sabina Mikina (AZE), 15-7.

In the table of 16, Baratta nearly upset Ekaterina Diatchenko (RUS), the #6-ranked saber fencer in the world, but narrowly lost the bout, 15-13, to place 13th overall.

Like Zagunis, 2010 Senior World Team member Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) advanced directly to the table of 64 through her top-16 world ranking.

Muhammad won her first bout against Charlotte Lembach (FRA), 15-10, but lost in the table of 32 to Veronika Danilova (RUS), 15-14. Muhammad finished 20th – her third top-32 result of the year.

Zagunis and Muhammad’s 2010 Senior World Teammate Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.) also advanced to the table of 64, but finished in 51st place after her loss to 2007 World bronze medalist Gioia Marzocca (ITA), 15-14.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:

Moscow Saber Grand Prix
1. Sophia Velikaia (RUS)
2. Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)
3. Ji-Yeon Kim (KOR)
3. Olga Kharlan (UKR)
5. Aleksandra Socha (POL)
6. Julia Gavrilova (RUS)
7. Ekaterina Diatchenko (RUS)
8. Marion Stoltz (RUS)

13. Emma Baratta (Somerville, N.J.)
20. Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
51. Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.)

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